Monday, March 15, 2004

In a new BBC poll of Iraqis, US favoured son, international embezzler, Ahmed Chalabi had no support at all, while Saddam Hussein remains one of the six most popular politicians in the country. And Chalabi is the least trusted leader in the whole of Iraq. By the way, after reading about the report on the poll on the BBC website, I was rather surprised with some of the advertised results. So I retrieved the full text of the report. Read and judge for yourself. Very very suspicious and unreliable, in my estimation, and the BBC website adds a positive spin that does not necessarily conform with the contents and the results. Also, I find it absolutely unbelievable that Ayatollah Sistani (and his name was wrongly identified as Said instead of `Ali) scored so low on people's preference for leader, as did Al-Hawzah, while Saddam got some points. There is something wrong here, and often the problem is translation and methodology. For example, Professor Ingelhart at the University of Michigan has been running public opinion surveys around the world in more than 70 countries. In one published volume of his work, Human Values, people in more than 40 countries were asked who are their least favorite neighbors. And in Turkey, more than 90 per cent of respondents allegedly said that Muslims are their least favorite neighbors. This tells you why I get suspicious about some Western-conducted surveys in Middle East lands. Also, in this poll, people have high preference for religious leaders (more than 40 percent), and yet religious leaders scored low when people were asked about their choices.